7 Natural Sleep Remedies To Help Your Child Get A Good Night’s Sleep

natural sleep remedies

Does your child have trouble falling or staying asleep? Don’t worry, it’s not at all uncommon. Most children will struggle with insomnia at some point in their young lives. Studies indicate that as many as 1 out of 5 will experience insomnia and about half will have some type of sleep issue.

natural sleep remedies

Sufficient restorative sleep is important for growth and overall health. If your child isn’t getting enough, his memory, mental health, and ability to learn and stay focused in school can be affected.

Doctors don’t recommend sleep medications for children (unless absolutely necessary), so it’s a good thing there’s loads of natural sleep remedies to try. Aside from establishing good sleep habits (going to bed at the same time every night, avoiding screens before bedtime, keeping a bedtime routine), here are our favourite natural remedies for insomnia.

Natural Sleep Remedies

Chamomile tea

It’s always a good idea to have some chamomile around when you have kids. It’s a great herb that treats a variety of ills: colic, colds, headache, irritability, indigestion, and more. It has a mild sedative effect, so if you give your child a cup of chamomile tea before bed, it’ll help ease her into sleep.

Magnesium oil wipes

Studies have found that having insufficient magnesium in the body can lead to a host of issues, including insomnia. Fortunately, you can boost your (and your child’s) magnesium levels with supplements, sprays, and these handy Sleepy Toes Towelettes. Infused with diluted magnesium oil, these are a perfect addition to your child’s bedtime routine. It helps relieve mild anxiety and restlessness, eases growing pains, and promotes restful sleep.

Relaxing bedtime bath

Speaking of bedtime routines, make bedtime baths more soothing by using a body wash with calming essential oils. The Base Collective’s Hair and Body Wash contains the sleep inducing combo of lavender and chamomile, and is infused with magnesium to soothe tired muscles and cramps. Jack N Jill’s Serenity Body Wash uses white cyprus and lavender for relaxation.

Aromatherapy

Amp up the bath’s relaxing effect with an aromatherapy balm like Badger’s Night Night Balm or The Base Collective’s Baby Balm. Night Night Balm has a sleep promoting blend of lavender, Roman chamomile, sandalwood, mandarin, and spearmint, while Baby Balm contains lavender, chamomile, and magnesium. Both smell divine and will have your child drifting off to sleep in minutes.

If you have a diffuser, add some lavender oil or this Child Calming Remedy blend to induce the zzz’s.

 

White noise machine or apps

Some children find it easier to sleep with a white noise machine that generates soothing sounds. If you don’t have one, use a fan or an app on your phone. You can also try playing calming nature sounds or instrumental music. Set the mood by dimming the lights half an hour before bedtime, turning off all distractions, and turning on the white noise. This can train your child’s brain into recognising when it’s time to sleep.

Sleep inducing foods

Certain foods support the production of melatonin and tryptophan, both of which are essential to a healthy sleep cycle. Rice, bananas, ginger, porridge oats, radishes, and tomatoes are rich in melatonin while chicken, fish, beans, pulses, eggs, dairy, and sprouted grains are rich in tryptophan. If your child is having trouble sleeping, try to give her these foods at night. But don’t push your child to eat more at dinner, as a heavy meal right before bed will actually make falling asleep more difficult.

Mum should be sleeping well, too

Your sleep habits also have an impact on your family’s well being. A recent study showed that children sleep more poorly if their mums suffer from insomnia symptoms. These children fall asleep later, don’t get enough sleep, and spend less time in the restorative deep sleep stage. Interestingly, whether or not the fathers also experienced insomnia didn’t seem to affect the children’s sleep habits. If you’re dealing with insomnia, we have some natural remedies for adults here.

While sleep problems are common among children and adolescents, chronic insomnia may be related to conditions like ADHD, depression, sleep apnoea, and thyroid disease. If something doesn’t feel right, check with your doctor right away.

Please note: Always consult your doctor before incorporating essential oils, herbs, and supplements into your or your family’s sleep routine.

Have you used a natural remedy to help with your child’s sleep? Let us know what works for you in the comments below.

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Main image credit: Big Stock

Postpartum Self Care: New Baby? How To Still Take Care Of Yourself

postpartum self care

The first 12 weeks are the toughest, they say. The learning curve was steep. My husband said that in the first week of our son’s life, he had learned more than in the past 10 years. I had to agree. But as we get to the end of those 12 weeks (and I listen to very loud and strange baby sleeping/groaning noises), I am feeling reflective. I want to reflect on the priorities I set out before the baby was born to look after myself, then the baby, then everyone else. Here is what I have observed about postpartum self care.

postpartum self care

There is no doubt that is hard to prioritise yourself when there is a newborn screaming to be fed. For example, this morning I wanted nothing more than to meet my friends and their babies for a swim and a chat. My son? He wanted nothing more than to feed for 1.5 hours and then sleep. That, was not the time for prioritising myself. But as I sat there with him, I planned what my self care would be once he fell asleep: tea and chocolate. It is small but it was enough.

The First 12 weeks of postpartum self care

So here are the top things I’ve learned about postpartum self care during those first 12 weeks.

Small is good

Aim for small. Focus on the small things that have a big impact for you e.g. 10 minutes of yoga while your partner has the baby, 5 minutes to drink a cup of tea with two hands, 5 minutes to have a dip in the pool. If you get more time, great, do more. But if you aim for small things that are likely to happen you don’t set yourself up for unrealistic expectations and resentment.

Housework will get done

Rather than sit with my tea, I was tempted to empty the dishwasher. I didn’t allow myself to do it. The dishwasher will eventually get emptied; this was my only window for tea. Priorities.

Take the toilet breaks when you get them

Feeding nearly constantly means that getting even two minutes to go to the bathroom at the time you need to might be a luxury. If you get a window, use it!

postnatal self care

Prioritise rest

To some people, it is ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ seems like wishful thinking (and it probably is if you have more than one child). I don’t sleep every time he sleeps. I listen to my body and decide whether I need sleep or something else to nourish me. But I always prioritise rest. Rest can be whatever you find restorative. Before I had a baby, I used to do this by saying, ‘two sessions; not three!’ This meant that if I did something in the morning and afternoon (two sessions), I rested in the evening (3rd session=rest). With a baby, for me, it’s more like ‘one session; not three!’ Find what works for you.

Get prepared

My son likes to feed (a lot!) which can mean hours on end looking at his little face with his eyes closed. He is happy and I enjoy watching him. To a point. Then, I get bored, thirsty, and hungry. I start prepping by putting things within a reaching distance: books, journals, computer, TV remotes, water, and food. It is a godsend.

Accept help

I wrote a whole post about this but I think it is so important that it needs repeating. Yesterday, I asked a stranger to help me get my purse out of my bag to pay for parking. I had a baby on boob, a baby carrier around my waist and a backpack on my back… yeah! Flustered (after nearly 2 hours of a screaming baby), my first reaction was to stop, put everything down, get my purse out, and hope there was $2 in there. In a split second, I thought of my word for the year ‘ask’ and realised there was an alternative. The stranger ended up paying the $2.

So, there you have it. I am amazed to say that postpartum self-care is possible with a newborn. I am not sure I believed it would be. But I think the core strand that runs through all of this is flexibility. I have tried not to compare what I used to do, to now. There is no comparison. I know that eventually I’ll get to go for a massage without worrying about the next feed. But in the meantime, tea, chocolate, and the odd bit of time to write is enough.

So, what can you do to prioritise yourself during pregnancy, and in those first 12 weeks, and beyond?

About the writer: Dr. Amanda McCullough from Not Just Mum

Amanda is a life coach, award-winning scientist, health professional and speaker at Not Just Mum. She coaches intelligent, brave and honest women through the transition from passionate career woman to motherhood and back again. A move to Australia in 2014, her two uteruses and expertise in behavior change and women’s leadership led her to create Not Just Mum where she offers workshops, one-to-one consults and coaching series to support women to maintain their sanity and identity in this challenging and joy-filled time of life.

Find Amanda on her website, on Facebook and on Instagram.

Article images credit: Dr. Amanda McCullough